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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

“More Burlington youngsters would get access to improved daytime health and education under a new program announced Thursday by Mayor Miro Weinberger.

“The mayor proposed that $500,000 be set aside annually to expand the capacity of existing, high quality early-learning facilities.”

“‘By investing in our youngest children today, we will reap a better educated, healthier and more just tomorrow,’ he said.”

“Several other community leaders voiced support for the city’s new Early Learning Initiative, including Vermont Agency of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe.

“Citing recent studies that link differences in cognitive development to income, Holcombe praised the initiative as an inspiration for the entire state.

“‘When we don’t pay attention to early care and learning, we are literally manufacturing inequity at the level of the brain.’”

“Pre-K education in Burlington gets big boost,” May 18, 2017, The Burlington Free Press

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Photo: Michele McDonald for Strategies for Children

More than 120 early education professionals and experts have signed an open letter that urges state lawmakers to increase their investment in early education.

“As Massachusetts legislators consider the state budget and investments in early education, we would like to highlight the widespread agreement among experts and researchers in the field about the effectiveness of such investments,” the letter says.

It goes on to point out that while: “Quality early childhood education can reduce the achievement gap.”

And: “Investing in quality early childhood education pays off.”

It is also unfortunately true that: “There are a number of pressing problems that undermine early education in Massachusetts.”

Among those who have signed the letter are professionals and experts we’ve blogged about before, including Anne Douglass of the University of Massachusetts Boston; preschool teacher Teddy Kokoros; and Jack Shonkoff of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child.  (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Today, the Massachusetts House Committee on Ways and Means released its state budget proposal for fiscal year 2018. The $40.3 billion budget represents a 3.8 percent increase over current year spending.

For early education and care, the House provides $10 million more than Governor Baker did in the proposal he released in January. House funding includes a $15 million rate increase to help address the workforce crisis in early education and care. Ways and Means Chair Brian Dempsey highlighted this increase in his letter to House members:

“Under the leadership of Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, the House Ways and Means budget prioritizes funding for early education and care with a focus on quality. The budget proposes a $15 million rate reserve for early educators. The rate reserve combined with other investments in the early education accounts will help to raise salaries and allow providers to recruit and retain high quality staff. This new funding ensures that Massachusetts’s youngest residents are receiving the best possible care during these highly formative years.”

The House proposal also provides $2.5 million for early childhood mental health supports and $700,000 for Reach Out and Read, which was not funded in the governor’s budget.

The Boston Globe covers the budget here.

Visit our website for more budget details.

House members have until Thursday, April 13, 2017, at 5 p.m. to file budget amendments, which will be debated the week of April 24th. Stay tuned for updates.

A reminder: Early Education Advocacy Day at the State House will be on April 24th, 2017, 10:30 a.m. Go to the Put MA Kids First coalition website for details.

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A series featuring communities that have a plan to expand preschool.

Literacy is a significant part of the Rainbow Child Development Center’s curriculum. Through partnerships like Edward Street Child Services’ Book Buddy program, children regularly receive books so that they can build their home libraries.

Worcester holds the triple distinction of being the second largest city in New England, a leading Gateway City, and the leading refugee resettlement community, welcoming 300-500 new families each year. All these factors drive this unique, richly diverse city.

Worcester also faces challenges. Each year, more than one-third of kindergarten students enter Worcester Public Schools with no formal preschool experience. In 2017, that percentage grew to 37 percent, or 751 students. A staggering 22 percent of Worcester’s population is below the poverty level compared to a state average of 15.6 percent, and among youth under age 18, 30 percent live in poverty.

These statistics mean that the city has work to do.

“To be a truly great city, Worcester must have healthy children, engaged families, and the very highest standards in our early learning system,” noted Kim Davenport, managing director of Birth to 3rd Grade Alignment at Edward Street Child Services.  (more…)

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Massachusetts readers, please note that Early Education Advocacy Day at the State House has been rescheduled to April 24th, 2017, 10:30 a.m.

 

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

What’s the best way to pay for child care? Here at Strategies for Children, we’re always looking at different approaches. As we’ve blogged, Finland uses tax revenues. And other European countries provide targeted subsidies to low-income families.

What about the United States?

Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst has an outside-the-box idea for a modernized education savings account. Whitehurst is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

The proposal: Invest $42 billion to “provide a substantial subsidy for every child from birth to fifth birthday in a family at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. This is nearly half the families in the U.S,” Whitehurst writes in “Why the federal government should subsidize childcare and how to pay for it.”

To finance this plan, Whitehurst calls for using the $26 billion that the country already spends on child care and adding another $16 billion that would come from revamping the country’s charitable donations tax deduction.  (more…)

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Preschool Expansion Grants (PEG grants) have been generating a lot of action. As we blogged last week, researchers have found that communities are successfully using the federal funding to expand preschool offerings, and offer high-quality, effective programs that meet the needs of children and families.

We decided to chronicle some of these efforts in two recently released community stories.

One story focuses on Springfield where Dan Warwick, superintendent of the city’s public schools, was determined to create more opportunities for young children. The city bought a building at 15 Catharine Street and turned it into a busy hub of preschool activity.

“That’s one of the best programs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Warwick says in the story. “Three private providers and the public schools in the same building, same coaches, same curriculum, really working together very well.” (more…)

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A series featuring communities that have a plan to expand preschool.
Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Kuh

Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Kuh, the Director of Early Education for Somerville Public Schools

 

Somerville serves only about 45 percent of the 4-year-olds who could potentially enroll in preschool.

Our Preschool Expansion Strategic Planning Grant inspired us to develop a three-year plan that builds upon existing partnerships and adds 108 additional seats in a mixed-delivery system. To do this in the upcoming 2017-18 school year, Somerville Public Schools (SPS) will expand its collaboration with Head Start to accommodate 36 more children in classrooms taught by both SPS and Head Start teachers.

In 2018-2020, we hope to add up to 72 slots across community-based childcare providers for income-eligible families. The cost per child includes pay equity for teachers, administrative support for directors, coaching and curriculum support, and comprehensive mental health and family services. We hope state funding will support this expansion. (more…)

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